Millions of inclined sleepers, including the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play, Fisher Price 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soother, and Fisher Price 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Glider, have been recalled after dozens of infant deaths. Experts warn that it’s not safe to let your baby sleep in an inclined position with his or her head elevated – whether that’s in an inclined sleeper, car seat, swing, bouncer, or stroller. Babies are safest sleeping on firm, flat surfaces with no bedding or soft toys. 

baby wearing striped shirt sleeping peacefully on his backPhoto credit: BabyCenter

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against letting babies sleep on an incline or in any product that requires restraining the baby, especially if it rocks. That’s because an incline position could potentially squish a baby’s airways, preventing him from breathing properly. And straps could lead to strangulation.

Questions about how the inclined sleepers got on the market in the first place, and whether there are inherent flaws in how infant sleep products are regulated, are swirling. A congressional report in June, 2021 says that poor safety practices and lack of oversight allowed Fisher-Price to keep the Rock ‘n Play sleeper on the market for a decade despite knowing about safety concerns and infant deaths. 

You can take proactive steps to make sure your baby sleeps safely by learning about the AAP’s recommendations and looking for products that meet safe sleep guidelines. Here’s the latest on recalled sleepers, some suggestions for safer alternatives, and a quick guide to the must-dos of the medically approved basics of safe sleep.

Recalled sleepers

So far, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced recalls for more than 5 million inclined sleepers and sleeper accessories.

  • Fisher Price 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soother. Recalled June 3, 2021 after reports of four infant deaths. The infants were reportedly placed on their backs unrestrained in the product and later found on their stomachs. Approximately 120,000 were sold in the U.S. Read the recall notice for more information. 
  • Fisher Price 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Gliders were also recalled June 3, 2021. Approximately 55,000 were sold in the U.S. No fatalities have been reported. 
  • Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play. This is by far the most widely sold inclined sleeper, with 4.7 million on the recall list. Since it began selling in 2009, more than 30 babies have died in these sleepers, according to the safety commission.
  • Kids II Rocking Sleepers. These products are sold under many different brand names, including Disney, DreamComfort, Ingenuity, and Bright Starts. Read the recall notice for a complete list of brand names.
  • Fisher-Price inclined sleeper accessory sold with Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yards. The sleeper accessory was recalled in the United States on June 27, 2019, because of fatalities associated with other inclined sleep products. Read the recall notice for more information.
  • Disney Baby Doze and Dream Bassinet (model BT071DHS). This bassinet was recalled in the United States on July 31, 2019, by Dorel Juvenile Group USA due to fatalities associated with similar reclined sleepers. Read the recall notice for more information.
  • Eddie Bauer Slumber and Soothe Rock Bassinet (model BT055CSY). This bassinet was recalled in the United States on July 31, 2019, by Dorel Juvenile Group USA due to fatalities associated with similar reclined sleepers. Read the recall notice for more information.

Keep in mind that the AAP recommends against using inclined sleepers in general. Consumer Product Safety Commission officials have also cited concerns about safety labels and standards for all inclined sleepers. If you have an inclined sleeper, stop using it, even if your sleeper isn’t on the recall list.

Inclined sleepers to avoid

The following products were, or continue to be, marketed primarily for sleep, and have inclines greater than 10 degrees, which increases the danger of airway compression and suffocation, according to the AAP. Consumer Reports advises parents not to buy or use these products.

  • Evenflo Pillo Portable Napper
  • Hiccapop DayDreamer
  • Baby Delight Go With Me Sway Portable Infant Rocker
  • Baby Delight Nestle Nook Comfort Plush Infant Napper
  • SwaddleMe By Your Bed Sleeper
  • Chicco Lullaby Dream Playard’s inclined napper insert

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Multipurpose products that should not be used for sleep

Many products are marketed as rockers, bouncers, or swings as well as for sleep. Consumer Reports warns that these products are fine for children who are awake, but parents should supervise children carefully and transfer them to a firm, flat surface like a crib or bassinet if they fall asleep.

  • Graco Duet Glide LX Gliding Swing
  • Graco DreamGlider Gliding Seat & Sleeper
  • Nuna Leaf Grow Bouncer
  • Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper and Tiny Love Cozy Rocker Napper

Alternative sleeping products

The AAP says babies should sleep on their backs and on a firm, flat surface such as in a crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard. Here are some favorite sleepers and bassinets chosen by BabyCenter moms.advertisement | page continues below

7 ways to make sure your baby sleeps safe

Not all cases of SIDS can be explained or prevented, but experts do know that following these safe sleep guidelines can significantly reduce your baby’s risk of sleep-related death.

  1. Put her on her back to sleep: Until she turns 1 year old, always put your baby to sleep on her back, whether you’re putting her down for a nap or for the night. If she rolls over, gently put your baby on her back again (you don’t need to do this once your baby is comfortably able to roll from tummy to back, and back to tummy by herself).
  2. Make it flat and firm: Your baby should sleep on a firm, flat surface that doesn’t indent when your baby is lying on it. This could be a crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard with a firm mattress and sheet designed to fit the product. Never let your baby sleep on a sofa, couch, or armchair.
  3. Keep sleeping surfaces clear: Remove loose blankets, toys, bumper pads, and any other objects from your baby’s sleeping place. These increase the risk of strangulation and suffocation.
  4. Move your baby if necessary: If your baby falls asleep in a car seat, stroller, swing, or on other non-flat surface, move her to a flat and firm sleep surface, and place her on her back as soon as possible.
  5. Share a room, but not a bed: The AAP recommends keeping your baby’s crib or other sleeping place close to your bed for at least the first 6 months. But don’t let your baby sleep in your bed. If she falls asleep while you’re feeding or comforting her in your bed, move her to her own bed.
  6. Breastfeed: Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce SIDS risk. Ideally, exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months of life, and continue breastfeeding after she starts solid food until she’s at least a year old.
  7. Be suspicious of products that claim to reduce SIDS: Some products such as wedges, sleep positioners, and certain mattresses are marketed as reducing SIDS risk. There are no studies to support these claims, according to the AAP.

SIDS is a reality that no parent wants to experience. Make sure your baby’s sleep products are safe by checking the CPSC recall list. And for more information on safe sleep, watch BabyCenter’s video on how to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS.

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